It started as casual small talk; catching up on life events since our last encounter. The conversation turned to a new topic, one I will never forget. This friend of mine, a mother, with a son serving our country in special operations, began to share with me his recent experiences.
She described a situation where her son while under attack, was with his comrades moving toward their objective. Unknowingly, he stepped over an IED. He was fortunate; however, his friend was not so lucky.
The impact was immediate, his pain more intense than anything he could describe. All he knew was that he was in a different place; wondering to himself, “Is this what dying feels like?” The next thing he remembered was hearing a slight groan coming from nearby. Looking over his shoulder he noticed it was his friend, lying on the ground. It seemed at the time as though the lower half of his body was missing. “Could this be; am I still alive?” He thought. Rubbing his eyes, checking with every sense he could muster. Yes, it is my partner, then sudden reflexes kicked in.
Getting up quickly and anguishing over the intensity of his newly realized pain he made his way to what he now hoped was only a bad dream. Unfortunately, his friend was real; it was not a dream. Everything was in disarray; nothing made sense at all. What was part of their world just a minute before was now gone? How could this happen, it was in the flash of an eye. What went wrong he thought to himself.
As he bent over to help, the immediate fear of knowing everything was real pierced his soul. Instinct kicked in, all the years of training were paying off. He knew he was his friend’s only hope. This dying soldier needed his full attention. His legs were gone; blood was rushing out of his body everywhere. It would be only minutes; maybe seconds and his life would be over.
Grabbing anything he could find which could be used as a tourniquet, he miraculously stopped the bleeding. After waiting for the gunfire to subside, he picked his friend up off the ground leaving a pool of blood where he lay. He carried him off to safety.
As this friend of mine ended her story, she shared that her son saved the life of his comrade that horrible day. He was awarded a medal of honor and recognized for saving this soldier in record time. Oddly enough, this story, while nearly unbelievable, is not the one that has changed my understanding.
This story is about what I saw, felt and experienced as these words of praise were expressed by this loving mother. We stood face-to-face. I listened staring into her eyes witnessing a miracle. For a moment, her eyes became the window to her soul. Tears appeared creating a brilliant shimmering glow. No longer was there a physical appearance but a clear radiant projection into eternity. I could see directly into her soul; I could feel the beat of her heart!
I ask you, “Who gives more serving our country?” The brave men and women who are willingly giving the ultimate sacrifice? Perhaps, hard to argue another way, but for me, I know differently now.
This mother, fully engaged in the life of her children, knows without question that her son is doing what he wants, what he believes, what is necessary. He will sacrifice all if required, knowing it is his duty; sensing it is what he was born to do. She lives for nothing more than to know of his safety. Combat and all that comes with it are a part of their lives now.
This friend and mother of a soldier lives every day with two objectives. First, she awakes every morning offering words of prayer for the safety of those who have dedicated their lives to protect ours. Knowing now more than any other time, there is a Creator and this Divine source will help, even if it is only to comfort. Second, as she retires to bed each night, she thanks Deity for another day passing without “the black car” driving up the driveway delivering news from the field.
We praise and honor those who serve our country. We pray for their safety and well-being. We know with certainty; it is our freedoms they protect. For me, I know now, after looking into the soul of a mother; there are some who give more. They, the mothers, will argue differently; I know better.
To the mothers of our service men and women, “Thank you!” We are with you praying for the protection of your children and for your peace and safety. Hoping your rewards in life will be all that you yearn for.
May I personally acknowledge you for giving more than I could give, more than I had known possible and more than what has been described as, “the ultimate sacrifice.”
I know mothers will remain noble; may peace, comfort and understanding be yours. Let those you have brought into the world receive recognition, love, and respect. May the hope and inspiration we receive from you be given back tenfold; it is we who have benefited through your gift.